Papers of Professor Claire Palley

Scope and Content

Legal and political papers relating to Rhodesia, 1965-1976. Including: High Court judgements 1965-70; constitutional and settlement proposals, negotiations and political papers relating to the African National Council, 1972-76; electoral and political papers relating to Rhodesia, 1968-71.

Administrative / Biographical History

Professor Claire Palley was born in South Africa in 1931 and received her BA and LLB from the University of Cape Town and her PhD from the University of London (1965). An Advocate in South Africa and Rhodesia and lecturer at the University of Cape Town and University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Palley was later to be Dean of the Faculty of Law at Queen's University Belfast. From 1973-84, she was Professor of Law and Master of Darwin College at the University of Kent at Canterbury. She was Principal of St Anne's College, Oxford from 1984 until her retirement in 1991. She was awarded the OBE in 1998.

An authority on constitutional and human rights law, in 1966 she published The Constitutional History and Law of Southern Rhodesia 1888 to 1964 (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1966). Palley acted as Constitutional Adviser to the African National Council at the constitutional talks on Rhodesia held in Geneva in 1976. She was Constitutional Adviser to the Republic of Cyprus (1980-94; re-appointed 1999) and played a similarly important role in the constitutional development of Northern Ireland. She was a member of the Lord Chancellor's Committee on Legal Education, a trustee and a Council member of the Minority Rights Group (1975-94) and the UK representative on the UN Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (1988-98). Other publications include 'The evolution, disintegration and possible reconstruction of the Northern Ireland constitution' in Anglo-American Law Review, 368 (1972); The United Kingdom and Human Rights (1991); and An international relations debacle: the Secretary-General's mission of good offices in Cyprus, 1999-2004 (2005).

Conditions Governing Access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including the Data Protection Act 1998.

Other Finding Aids

Anne Akeroyd and Colin Lunt (eds), A Guide to the Southern African Archives in the University of York, (York, 1979).

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Dr Charles Fonge, September 2010.

Conditions Governing Use

The documents relating to the Geneva conference may be accessed for information but should not be quoted from.

A reprographics service is available to researchers. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute, University of York's terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.


Further accruals are not expected.

Related Material

Related holdings include papers of the African National Council of Zimbabwe (ref. GB 0193 ANC(Z)).

Geographical Names